The Difference between Paternalism versus Love

Recently, I heard a doctor say, “The difference between paternalism and love? It’s trust.”

This made me think of a scene in the 2017 film The Upside in which Philip Lacasse, a billionaire who has become a quadriplegic, is seeking a live-in caregiver.

Philip’s executive assistant, Yvonne Pendleton, has lined up interviews with many candidates.

“So… what would you like to tell us,” Yvonne prompts the first woman applicant who looks stiff and uptight.

“I take my relationship with my clients very personally,” she stumbles. “And seriously, I mean. And professionally. As well. Of course,” she ends awkwardly.

The next applicant, a politically-correct gentleman, says, “I don’t hear disability. I hear this ability.”

Next, a flamboyant and new age-y guy says in his interview, “Let me be your hands and your arms and your legs. Allow the space where you begin and I end to be both infinite and infinitesimal.”

The last applicant, not so perceptively, remarks during his interview, “Your book changed me. So I figured, even if I don’t get the position, I could get an autograph.”

Unable to move anything beneath his neck, Phillip responds with deadpanned resignation, “And how would you get an autograph?”

Next, the protagonist, Dell Scott, enters the scene in this four-minute clip:

Throughout the film, Dell and Philipp forge an unlikely friendship because of Dell’s radical sincerity and lack of all pretence.

Throughout the film, Dell resists any paternalism toward Philipp while, mysteriously through his caregiving, finally discovering the true meaning of paternity.

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